It’s great fun to whip out a 10 minute sketch with Illustrator’s blob brush.
I used the art history swatches that come with the tools. Preprogramming the buttons of the Cintiq (not the fancy new big one, alas) allowed me to switch between blob brush, eraser, undo, and delete very easy, thus adding speed. I like the fact that there is still something uncontrollable, and unpredictable in the way Illustrator smoothens the lines. I allow a certain percentage of un-precision, and a very light amount of smoothing to maintain this slight serendipity. Then it is simply: ‘don’t think, don’t stop, don’t compose, just go!’ It clears the mind for serious work, and every line is an experience etched in your brain.
Faced with the task of quickly creating a repeating pattern I used Adobe Illustrator CS6 to create a group of wine bottles. Working in Illustrator can force a person into delivering very clean, almost clinically clean, work. So you have to choose your tools deliberately to break free from this pulling force.
Since I went for a loose, woodcut-ish look, I exclusively used the blob-brush. With a very small variable linewidth this brush can give a very nice ‘hand-carved’ effect. Creating the repeating pattern was a matter of seconds with Illustrator’s pattern tool. I used a hexagonal distribution and created some extra white space with invisible shapes.